Hillary Clinton's troubling transformation on Israel

As senator she voted for the resolution endorsing Bush's letter to Sharon that envisaged Israel retaining settlement blocs.

clinton cigarillo 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
clinton cigarillo 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
When Hillary Clinton was New York's junior US senator from 2001 to 2009, she was a vocal supporter of Israel. She was especially strong on Jerusalem, stating in a September 2007 position paper that she believed "Israel's right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, must never be questioned." Her spokesman even said "this paper is a reflection of her consistent policy... that hasn't changed." In June 2004, Clinton voted for the Senate resolution endorsing president George W. Bush's letter to prime minister Ariel Sharon that envisaged Israel retaining "major Israeli population centers" in Judea and Samaria and "defensible borders" in any final peace agreement. Clinton also repeatedly warned of the monumental dangers of Palestinian incitement to hatred and murder of Jews in their schools, media and mosques as having "dire consequences for peace for generations to come." Clinton even said, "It is clear that the Palestinian Authority, as we see on PA TV, is complicit" in terrorist attacks and that we should condition US aid to the PA on a "cessation of Palestinian propaganda and hateful rhetoric." It has taken only a matter of months to confirm that Secretary of State Clinton bears little resemblance to Senator Clinton on Israel issues. NOW, SHE enthusiastically supports an unconditional increase in US aid to the PA and Gaza, of $900 million annually, a significant increase. She also demands a total freeze on all Jewish building in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. Interviewed on Al-Jazeera TV on May 19, Clinton said, "We want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth - any kind of settlement activity. We made that very clear. I reinforced that last night at a dinner with Prime Minister Netanyahu." She reiterated this even more strongly on May 27 in Egypt: "not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions... And we intend to press that point." She also states publicly that the Obama administration will condition at least some of its efforts to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power on Israel's willingness to bow to pressure to make concessions to the same PA she once described as "complicit" in terrorism and incitement. Speaking in April before the House Appropriations Committee, Clinton said that "for Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can't stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand. Also, already in March, Clinton demanded Israel allow illegally built Palestinian Arab homes in eastern Jerusalem and prohibit legal building of Israeli/Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem. Such Jewish construction, she said, was "unhelpful." Suddenly, parts of an "undivided Jerusalem" are places where Jews may not move or build, even though Jews were a majority in eastern Jerusalem from the mid-1800s until 1948, when Jordan forced Jewish residents to flee, and are now a majority once again. Jerusalem has always been the religious, historical and political capital of the Jewish people. Clinton justifies her criticism of Jewish building by reference to the 2003 road map peace plan, which she claims Israel is not fulfilling. Yet she doesn't mention unfulfilled Palestinian road map obligations that were supposed to occur simultaneously, including an end to the incitement, confiscating illegal weapons, cutting off all funding to terror groups and an immediate call for an end to all violence. THESE VIOLATIONS were once taken seriously by Clinton - especially incitement. As she put it in an October 2003 Senate committee hearing at which I testified, "How can you think about building a better future, no matter what your political views, if you indoctrinate your children to a culture of death?" And again, in February 2007: "We must stop the propaganda... in idealizing for children a world without Israel, children are taught never to accept the reality of the State of Israel... We cannot build a peaceful, stable, safe future on such a hate-filled violent and radical foundation. In the years since... there has still not been an adequate repudiation of this by the Palestinian Authority." Today, however, Clinton says nothing about incitement to hatred and murder. Thus, when interviewed this month on a PA-TV teen show and asked, "What would you do if your daughter was unfortunate enough to have been born under occupation, born deprived of freedom and liberty?" Clinton legitimized the question's false premise and actually helped incite hatred against Israel by not refuting it while also ignoring the fact that 98 percent of Palestinians actually live under the PA or Hamas, not Israeli control. She merely responded that she would give her the "best education I could for her... I would never give up on the dream of a Palestinian state." That an alarming number of Palestinian parents have encouraged their children to become suicide bombers was somehow lost from Clinton's response. In short, Secretary of State Clinton is deaf to the words that US Senator Clinton once passionately uttered. It is notable that her recent criticisms of Israel impelled New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind to observe, "I liked her a lot more as a senator from New York... Now, I wonder... who the real Hillary Clinton is." The writer is president of the Zionist Organization of America.